FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Jalin Marshall anxiously waited three days to hear his name called at the NFL draft.
The first day came and went. So did the second. The former Ohio State wide receiver figured a team would grab him in one of the last four rounds.READ MORE: 12-Year-Old Child Shot In Chest In Brooklyn
A total of 253 players were selected in April — and Marshall couldn’t believe he wasn’t one of them.
“There were 32 teams who passed me up in the draft,” Marshall said. “And now, I’ve got a great opportunity to show all these teams what they missed out on. That’s at the top of my list right there.”
Marshall was signed by the Jets as an undrafted free agent shortly after the draft concluded, and he is doing all he can during training camp to prove everyone wrong.
He played just two years at Ohio State before declaring for the draft and thinks some scouts might have thought he just didn’t have enough experience. Marshall ran a not-so-flashy 4.68 seconds in the 40-yard dash at his pro day, creating more doubts about whether he could play at the next level.
“People also said I was overweight at the pro day,” the 5-foot-10, 200-pound Marshall said. “There was a lot of stuff, but it was my fault. It was nobody else’s fault but mine, but every day I’ve got the opportunity to come out here and prove I should’ve been a No. 1 draft pick — and that’s my goal.”
Marshall was ready to move on from Ohio State because many of his teammates were going to the pros or graduating. Not one to be left behind in anything he does, Marshall decided it was best for him to play at the next level.
He isn’t cocky, he insists. He’s just supremely confident in himself, believing that he could make an impact in the NFL despite the draft disappointment and all the doubters.
“It doesn’t fade just like that,” he said. “There are still people who don’t think I should be here. People still think I should be at Ohio State. This thing will go on for the rest of my life, unless I make sure it turns out the right way.”READ MORE: Police: Mike Kushnir Arrested In Connection To Stabbing Death Of 17-Year-Old Gerado Rivas In Washington Heights
Marshall has certainly opened eyes all offseason, so much so that he even got some time with the starters in the preseason opener against Jacksonville last week. He had one catch for 10 yards, but it was his 84-yard kickoff return that had people buzzing.
Marshall took the ball out of the end zone, leaped over a would-be tackler, got a huge block from Rontez Miles and took off. He was eventually run out of bounds by Dwayne Gratz at the Jaguars’ 18.
“I thought I was gone, man,” a smiling Marshall said. “I got the opening and felt the guy had a good angle, so I tried to set him up and try to make something else happen, but it was good, man. It was a great experience. I can’t explain that feeling. It’s my first game ever. It’ll never happen again. I’ll always have that memory.”
Charone Peake knows exactly what Marshall means. The wide receiver was a seventh-round pick out of Clemson — No. 241 overall — and, like Marshall, faced long odds to make a roster that already has Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker and Quincy Enunwa securing three spots at the position.
Peake has strung together more than a week of strong practices and caught a 17-yard touchdown pass from Geno Smith against the Jaguars in which he made a pretty toe tap to get both feet down inbounds.
“Oh, man, it felt great,” he said. “It was crazy because I didn’t know I was in the end zone and I didn’t know I was near the sideline. I was just hoping the ref would say that I caught the ball. When I saw him put his hands up for a touchdown, I was pretty excited.”
Peake insists he has no hard feelings about his low draft position, knowing that two surgeries on his left knee early in his college career scared off some teams.
“I’m honestly just happy to be here,” he said. “It doesn’t really matter what round it was in.”
As he continues to make plays at this level and possibly make the Jets’ 53-man roster, the stigma over his injury history might fade.
Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has been impressed by Peake, pointing out his wide catch radius, something that has made Marshall so effective for years. Peake has also been closely studying the veteran receivers to add more of a physical element to his game.
“I’ve been kind of taking in everything Brandon and Eric have been doing on film and taking notes, and that has helped me a lot,” he said. “I’m just building confidence every day and trying to get better every day. That’s kind of been my goal throughout all of camp.”MORE NEWS: New Jersey Family Finds Father's Missing Cell Phone Nearly 6 Years After Crash That Took His Life
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